Dallas Is Setting Up a Kickstarter to Save Historic Octavio Medellin Windows

Dallas sometimes has a penchant for getting excited about what's most shiny and new. Amidst all the demolition and reconstruction, it's invigorating to hear about preservation efforts.

As KERA reported earlier this week, the Trinity Lutheran Church near White Rock Lake is being torn down, to be replaced with a new YMCA at White Rock. Inside the church are three fused-glass windows made by the late, Dallas-based artist Octavio Medellin. The YMCA donated the windows to the city, and the Dallas City Office of Cultural Affairs intends to install them in the City Performance Hall in the Arts District.

See also: An Adventure Through the DMA's Secret Underground Art Storage

The OCA is launching a Kickstarter campaign to help cover part of the $140,000 cost of the project. They're dealing with some technical difficulties right now and the Kickstarter page hasn't launched yet -- we'll post an update as soon as it has. The campaign, Windows at Dallas City Performance Hall, is aiming to raise $7,500, $2,500 per window.

These are extremely delicate pieces, as Michael van Enter of Studio van Enter explained. Van Enter is an art conservator overseeing the transfer and installation of the windows. Stained glass windows are made by coloring glass with different oxides, spreading the glass out like dough, then cutting it to the desired shape and fitting the pieces together with grout.

But Medellin's windows are made of fused glass, made by sprinkling oxide on a piece of glass then firing it in an oven like pottery. Each piece has to be in its final shape already, meaning the pieces in the three Medellin windows, titled "Father," "Son" and "Holy Ghost," are unique. "They're not something you can buy and replace," says van Enter. "The Office of Cultural Affairs has really gone out of their way to save it at the 11thhour."

When describing Medellin's influence on the Dallas art scene, van Enter uses words like "pivotal," "giant" and "instrumental." Medellin founded the the Medellin School of Sculpture in Dallas in the '60s after teaching at UNT and SMU. He fled to the U.S. during the Mexican Revolution, and today his work is in the Smithsonian and the Getty Research Institute.

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